Speaker: Aditi Chandra, Scholar-in-Residence
When: August 3, 2013
Where: Shangri La
As die-hard antiquarians, eager tourists and avid aficionados of picturesque landscapes, the British may well have experienced colonialism in India as a great travel adventure. Tourist space, it has been suggested, is intimately linked to colonial space; and tourism much like colonialism is strongly influenced by a desire to experience Otherness. While remaining fascinated by local landscapes such as the Mughal charbargh, colonial authorities also had a penchant for creating English-style gardens around historic sites.
European women, who were frequent documenters of colonial travel adventures in the subcontinent, revealed their love of Mughal and English gardens and oftentimes showed that, for them, these landscapes became spaces of solitude, frivolity and transgression in order to escape Victorian patriarchy. Despite their status as traveling connoisseurs and scholars, women, it was claimed by the male-dominated scholarly world of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, could only engage with gardens through their link with the domestic. Through an analysis of Shangri La's Mughal Garden and Lahore's 17th century Shalamar Bagh, Doris Duke's travel ephemera, European women's travelogues and British attempts at creating picturesque landscapes in the subcontinent, Chandra explores the link between colonialism, travel and landscape design and questions the silence on women's contribution towards garden history.
Aditi Chandra (Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 2011) is Assistant Professor of Islamic and South Asian Art at the School of Social Science and Humanities at the University of California, Merced. Her research examines how colonial archaeological and travel-related processes transformed Delhi's Sultanate and Mughal architecture into modern monuments for touristic consumption in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most recently, her essay "Potential of the 'Un-exchangeable Monument': Delhi's Purana Qila, in the time of Partition, c. 1947-1963" was published in the International Journal of Islamic Architecture.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?